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Brave Philippine NT bows to Thailand to open ASEAN GP run

The Philippines put up a gallant stand against Thailand but fell in straight sets, 25-17, 25-22, 25-12 to open its 2022 ASEAN Grand Prix campaign, Friday at Korat Chathai Hall in Thailand.

Thailand started the first set hot with Kokram giving the team an early 6-2 lead after finding a hole on the Creamline-backed squad’s floor defense. 

The Filipinas closed the gap to two, 9-11, after Jema Galanza landed an ace but that was the closest that the Philippines got as Thailand went on a 13-7 run capped by a Kokram hit that put them at match point, 24-15. Tots Carlos saved two points before Kokram ended the set.

Unlike the opener, the reigning PVL Invitationals champion kept the second set close and even led by four points, 20-16. Consecutive errors coming from Galanza and Michelle Gumabao which was then followed by an ace from Kaewkalaya Kamulthala, though, trimmed the Philippines' lead to just one. 

Pimpichaya Kokram spearheaded the Thais with a game-high 17 points, including seven in the first set, while Wipawee Srithong added 10 markers in the victory.

Galanza answered with two consecutive conversions from the attack line but Ajcharaporn Kongyot and Kokram fired four points in a 6-0 blast to steal the set from the Filipinas.

Thailand stepped on the gas pedal in the third set, taking a 25-12 win to complete the sweep.

Carlos, the reigning PVL Open and Invitational Conference MVP, paced the Philippines with 11 points while Galanza added eight points. Ced Domingo and Gumabao, meanwhile, each had four in the loss.

The Philippines looks to bounce back against Vietnam tomorrow, Saturday at 4:00 PM at the same venue.

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